+1 Alex and Henry. The Alpha SV is one of the few items of clothing that is still being made in Canada, while all their lower end ( can you believe $200+ is lower end for this company???) jackets are being made in China. Their packs are largely made in the Phillipines (I think they still make certain componenets of the packs in Canada). Simply put Arcteryx is not the same company it was 5 years ago...not saying they don't have good quality gear...just that its not the same as it was before, and they shouldn't be able to charge what they do given the offshore construction. The alpha SV still remains the tank, along with other jackets like the Theta SV...their other jackets like the beta jackets, or most other ones with the SL designation, are nothing special anymore. They are definitely making their money due to the branding associated with their name...anyone check out their website lately? They've moved on to designing business casual clothing as part of their lineup. Truth is, their materials aren't revolutionary either...they just happen to have a contract with goretex, who is a marketing giant in itself.
While the Alpha SV is still a great jacket, its really just overkill for the majority of users, including myself. This observation is of course made in hindsight...but for all those looking to get a rain shell by arcteryx, there are better materials out there, and lighter jackets, that will leave you equally protected for the majority of pursuits you intend on using it for. Look into jackets using eVent by Rab, or membrain strata jackets by Marmot. I've taken my Marmot essence on light mountaineering trips, and it works fine...would probably never survive a really bad self arrest scenario, but as far as protection from the elements, its an A+ performer, at only 6oz. I've used my rab drillium on snowboard trips...i'm not a very good snowboarder, so I do fall, and have slid on crusty/icy snow for many yards at a time, dragging me and my jacket down...but the jackets fine and shows no wear